Valentine’s Day is upon us; it’s one day that we tell that special someone how much we care for them. We show our affection with flowers, candy, gifts, and food. We give priority to making loved ones feel special that day. The love that we show on Valentine’s Day leads me to wonder why we do not shower those people with same attention the other 364 days of the year. And, it begs the question “Should businesses take a similar approach to our relationships with customers?”
The answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” A business should show LOVE for its customers just as we invest in important personal relationships. What is LOVE? I’m not referring to the 1983 song by Ho"font-style:italic;ward Jones, who asked that very question. LOVE is an acronym that can guide how a business manages its customer relationships. To LOVE is to:
Listen – Create a culture among customer contact employees to pay attention to customers’ wants and desires. How can your products make their lives better or easier? The answers to this question change frequently, but we have to be attuned to our customers to gain needed insights.
Observe – Be on the lookout for changes in customer behavior that could signal a shift in the relationship. Decreased order volume, placing orders less frequently, or delays in responding to communications can be tip-offs that your standing with a customer may not be as solid as you believe. Too often, these signals are not detected until after a relationship diminishes or ends altogether.
Give a Voice – Give your customers platforms to communicate with your company and other customers. Allowing user reviews of your products, building a community around your brand, and making email and phone contact a painless process are steps you can take to make customers feel valued.
Show Empathy – Encourage employees to put themselves in your customers’ shoes. More importantly, the concern they feel must be communicated and felt by customers, not just a script or canned responses delivered by employees.
As you can see, LOVE is not a special promotion, program of the month, or slick internal marketing campaign. LOVE represents customer-centered behaviors that transform marketing from promises to results for your customers. So, while we go all out to show love on Valentine’s Day, why not commit to showing LOVE everyday for the next year?
Labels: Customer Relationships